By Sydney Callis
Leader’s Training Course
It’s kind of like an 18th birthday party, where a little pomp and circumstance acknowledges the entrance to adulthood and the new responsibilities and new roles that come with it.
Instead of celebrating aging another year, however, the guidon ceremony signifies the Cadets’ entrance into a new phase of the Leader’s Training Course.
Cadets, transitioning into the second phase of the training course called the Warrior Leader phase, graduate from being followers to being leaders and taking on the leadership roles within their company. Bravo Company’s ceremony was Friday, and one will be held for Charlie Company today.
“It was definitely exciting to know that we completed the first phase, and we’re moving on,” said Bravo Company Cadet Stephanie Schmidt of St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. “We’re one step closer to graduating.”
In the Warrior Leader phase, Cadets rotate through the various positions and will take on the responsibility to serve as platoon leaders, squad leaders, company commander and platoon sergeants during the remainder of their time at Fort Knox.
Col. Stephen Smith, commandant of Cadets and professor of military science at Norwich University in Vermont, said each Cadet will have the opportunity to hold at least three leadership positions.
With the Team Development Course as the last activity for the first phase, the course’s curriculum progresses into more intense training.
“Everything we do here, all the events in the field, whether it is stream crossing or squad tactics, is to facilitate their leadership development,” Smith said. “We want to get them in roles where they have to use their decision-making skills, critical thinking and teamwork skills in order to accomplish the mission.”
During the ceremony — one is held for each LTC company — the guidon is passed from cadre to Cadets during the ceremony, and the companies are officially initiated into this summer’s training course. Also, as streamers signifying the company’s progression are added to the guidon, the leadership responsibilities is handed over to the Cadets.
“We’re assessing their potential to become future leaders,” Smith said. “The guidon ceremony is the formal transfer of leadership from the drill sergeants and squad tactical officers to Cadets.”
The company streamers attached to the guidon represent the unity within the platoon and company.
“Every time a training unit comes together, they’re assigned colors,” said 2nd Lt. Kyle Nazzaro, a Bravo Company trainer. “The colors represent the past, present and future units. The Soldiers always interchange, but the colors always stand strong.”
The responsibility of leading their peers isn’t something Cadets take lightly. Schmidt said she’s excited for the opportunity to lead fellow Cadets and learn from the experience.
“It’s definitely a big responsibility, but knowing you have all those people looking up to you and taking direction from you, it is an honor and a responsibility at the same time,” Schmidt said.
After learning the Army’s seven values during their training in the first phase of the course, Cadets are given Values Tags at the ceremony. These tags were placed on a board inside the barracks, where they will hang until graduation day and then be returned to Cadets to signify their completion of the course.
“It’s a mental, as well as a physical challenge to get those dog tags,” said Alpha Company Cadet Danyelle Strand of Norfolk State University in Virginia. “It’s an accomplishment.”
Although the leadership was transferred and Cadets face new challenges, Schmidt said as the course progresses, her company’s bond grows stronger, and the Army value of loyalty is prevalent every day throughout the different activities.
“I came here as an individual, as a civilian from my school, and now we’re a unit, and we’re a team,” Schmidt said. “It’s not about me. It’s about everyone.”